It's taken a long while for Sony to officially announce the next redesign of their specific handheld system, the Sony PSP, but finally the public is able to take a serious look at the product. Though it has yet to be released and will remain out of gamers' hands till Fall 2009, the PSPgo! has brought up a number of praises and complaints from gamers everywhere.
Let me begin by saying that I own a PSP currently, though the only games that I've bothered buying are the original Sonic Rivals and Disgaea: Afternoon of Darkness, the latter being a game that I've begun playing, but have yet to seriously master. I recently went online with my PSP, finally gaining access to the Playstation Store. I even picked up a demo of Rock Band Unplugged (which is surprisingly addictive, but that's for another blog). For the couple of years or so that I've had my PSP, I haven't even been able to take it on the go much because of the battery life, and the whir of the UMD drive has annoyed me, despite the increase in graphics and sound that the system provides. I liked being able to listen to music and browse the internet, but as stated before, there isn't much room for this because of the battery life. The PSP library itself has plenty of unique titles, and it pretty much covers all of the bases in terms of variety. You get your many sports and action games, along with a platformer or two, and plenty of classic RPG's. Sony's recently put another foot forward in terms of games, with exclusive titles like Rock Band Unplugged and a new Assassin's Creed, along with the Playstation-only franchises of Resistance: Retribution and Little Big Planet. It's a bright future for the PSP, I absolutely must say.
So, onto the PSPgo.
The biggest change is the implementation of digital media instead of the loud and battery-attacking UMD drive. I, for one, find this to be a marvelous inclusion, but like many others, the problem of these UMD-based games that I own (as few as they may be) is a serious issue. Sony has claimed that they will use a "goodwill" system to replace UMD's with digital games. The problem with that is that there are so many PSP games and there's a good chance that not all of the games will be represented. However, this will make the system faster and easier on the battery, IN THEORY.
The second change is the design, which is probably its most discouraging factor. The slidy screen looks fragile and the button placement just doesn't seem to nail it. And yes, we know that there's no second analog stick. I haven't yet held the PSPgo in my hands so I can't judge, but from what I've seen, it looks pretty uncomfortable.
I do have to say that it's near impossible for Sony to put a serious dent in Nintendo's handheld supremacy. Nintendo has had a hold on the portable market for what...like 20 years? It's surpassed competitor after competitor and still has managed to keep its momentum going. But for the record, the Sony PSP has probably been the closest of any competitor to taking a piece of the pie from Nintendo. The success of the Monster Hunter series has been a major factor in Sony's success in the Japanese and North American markets, but you can only run on a single franchise for so long. But Sony's attention is divided in this: not only are they trying to make a gaming system, but also a multimedia system. This is another great reason to use internal memory for sure, but now both Apple and Microsoft are major competitors in that market, and trying to sell in both types of markets isn't the best way to win.
But the ultimate question is "should I buy it?" That's up to you, but I'm probably going to keep my older PSP just in case. As thrilled as I am about a strong digital download service on a handheld system, Sony has a lot to learn. Overall, though, the PSPgo has potential. It looks to be the way to go for newcomers to the PSP world, but for the rest of us, we'll have to wait out for Sony's implementation of the UMD exchange program.
And a price drop. I mean, $250 bucks? Are they serious?